Athena Montessori Academy

Back to School Newsletter 2022

"The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence."

-- Maria Montessori

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Google Calendar for Parents

Check out the Athena Parent Calendar and stay tuned to important school events!


Well, we are officially off to a great start of the new school year! What a gift it has been to have all of your precious children on campus. And it has felt so good that we’ve been able to focus our energy this time of year on preparing to welcome our students without our primary focus being Covid! Our faculty enjoyed our two weeks of prep together with workshops, meetings, team building, connection, and preparation. Our guides have worked SO hard, with so much love and passion, to prepare themselves, their teams, and the environments for you. And now we all get to experience the joy of witnessing your children make friends, bond with guides, explore their classrooms, and settle into their new communities. We all welcome you to the new school year and are excited to see what this year will bring for all of us!


Lisl Friday

Founder & Head of School

Please take a few moments to read our School Director’s important message and tips about TRANSITION:

The beginning of the school year brings the opportunity to practice transitions. We all struggle with transitions and our children are no different. You may notice that your child is sleeping more than usual or sleeping less; they may be eating more than usual, or almost not eating at all; they may be crying over every little thing, and so might you. We all handle transitions and change differently. We can assure you that no matter how they are adapting to the new school year, it has brought them into disequilibrium. When a child is experiencing disequilibrium, this means that they are in a time of growth. It is best to simplify the rest of their lives during this time. Our recommendation is that you not schedule too many extra activities for a couple of weeks. They need down time, and lots of one-on-one attention from their family members.

The children want their feelings validated. For example, saying, “You feel sad,” to a crying child, instead of “You’re OK,” or “Look at this fun thing!” might feel strange, but the healthiest thing we can do is just to allow them to sit with their feelings instead of trying to distract them. They may decide they love school one day and the next day they never want to go to school ever again. These hard moments are opportunities to validate their feelings about how it can feel hard to say goodbye in the mornings. Maybe you build in a two-minute snuggle with your undivided attention before following through with all the morning steps. Afterwards, if they are still having feelings or putting their foot down about not moving through the morning, then you do your best to navigate the steps while avoiding falling into any power struggles. Remember that at school we will happily receive children in PJs or with breakfast in their hands, and we can complete those morning steps right here at school.

Broaden their feelings vocabulary by naming your own feelings with a rainbow of words (more than “happy”, “sad”, “angry”, “silly”) and talking to them about how feelings are ‘just passing through–they don’t stay all day. Another helpful and simple tool is to draw out each step that needs to occur in the morning with stick figures. This drawing or sketch creates a roadmap for your children and can transform an abstract process to a more concrete one that allows them to feel more control over the process.

The final step in this process is to make sure the adults are taking care of themselves so that you can stay regulated. Make sure you are sleeping, eating, and getting your needs met.

We love listening to, and collaborating with parents and supporting you with resources, tips, and tools for better understanding your children’s needs. Please reach out to me or a member of my team if you need anything at all.

Here’s to a wonderful year!


Mandy Waid

School & Education Director

Recommended Books for Back to School

Here are some excellent recommended reads that might help new and returning students cope with some big "Back to School" emotions

  • "Wemberly Worried" by Kevin Henkes
  • "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn
  • "The Pigeon Has to Go to School" by Mo Willems
  • "The Day You Begin" by Jacqueline Woodson
  • "How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?" by Jane Yolen
  • "Our Class is a Family" by Shannon Olsen
  • "Double-Dip Feelings" by Barbara S. Cain
  • "The Invisible String" by Patrice Karst

Please support our locally owned bookstores when purchasing books for your family! Our favorites are Black Pearl Books, Reviere Books, and BookPeople!

A Special Happy Birthday to Maria Montessori

August 31st, 2022 will mark Maria Montessori’s 152nd birthday! Maria Montessori was an innovator, a feminist, one of the first female physicians in Italy, and a strong leader for peace education who made discoveries that were WAY ahead of her time. Brain research is now proving true many of Montessori’s philosophies that she developed by simply observing children. She allowed the children to teach her, instead of her teaching the children. It was through this freedom that the children were allowed to make contact with their own curiosity. She stated, “To stimulate life, leaving it free however, to unfold itself— that is the first duty of the educator.”

If you have a few moments in your day, we recommend watching these two videos, presented by Montessori Guide, of two different Montessori classrooms. The videos represent simple tasks in a child’s day, but they are a great depiction of how we encourage independence and self - motivation as Maria Montessori did.

Child at Work: Tots Age & Child at Work: Primary Age

Welcome, Baby Josie!

Congratulations to our P1 Lead Guide, Tess, and our Facilities Manager, Shaun, on their precious baby, Josie! Welcome to our Athena community, and to our world, little one. You are so loved!

September Birthdays!

Students -

1st: June M.

5th: Thomas E., Witten G., Van W., & Isla F.

7th: Francisco L.

8th: Ava C. & Kiran B.

9th: Jack D. & Madeline M.

10th: Chloe K., Iles R. & Vivienne F.

12th: Luke M.

13th: Townes C. & Ryder S.

14th: Margot M.

16th: Garrett M.

17th: Sachin S.

18th: Jane K. & Reeve S.

19th: Colette E.

20th: Hazel H.

23rd: AJ W.

27th: Judah B.

28th: Sarah G., Ethan S. & James Everett F.

29th: Von B.


13th: Tiffany H. (P3)

14th: Cassidy P. (P5)

21st: Laila K. (P2)

25th: Ryann F (P4)

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Early Arrival Program & After School Program

Both the Early Arrival Program (EAP) or After School Program (ASP) began this past Monday, August 29th, 2022. Enrolled families should have received an email from our ASP Lead, Alicia Ramirez with more information.

EAP is full with a short waitlist. ASP has limited availability in some of our classrooms.

At this time, we are unable to offer drop-in care for EAP or ASP.

For more detailed information about EAP & ASP, please click the link to visit our website or contact

Important September Dates

Monday, 5th: Labor Day - NO SCHOOL

Thursday, 8th: Onam

Saturday, 10th: Full Moon Festival

Sunday, 11th: Grandparents Day

Wednesday, 14th: Holy Cross Day

Thursday, 15th: Start of Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month

Saturday, 17th: Vishwakarma Puja

Wednesday, 21st: International Peace Day

Sunday, 25th: Mahalaya Amavasya

Rosh HaSahana starts

Monday, 26th: Navaratri begins

Tuesday, 27th: Rosh HaShana ends

Extracurricular Programs at Athena

We are excited to welcome back our extracurricular programs for our Primary students for the 2022-2023 school year. These programs begin next week, Tuesday, September 6th. Athena has been partnering with each of these programs for a number of years, and love being able to offer them to your children. Each instructor and coach receives an Athena Culture orientation, and undergoes the same background check process as our teachers. Each program handles their own registration, which you can access via the Extracurricular Programs page of our website.

Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month: September 15th - October 15th

September 15th marks the beginning of National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month in the United States, celebrating the many cultural, historical, educational, political, and artistic contributions of the generations of Americans who ancestry stems from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.

According to the National Hispanic Heritage website, hosted by the Library of Congress, beginning in the middle of the month of September is symbolic, as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile celebrate their freedom from Spanish colonialism on September 15th, 16th, and 18th.

Here are some excellent educational resources surrounding National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage:

If there is a special way your family celebrates their Hispanic or Latinx heritage, please contact your student's Guide to share with their class!

What does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work look like at Athena?

To learn more about how our DEI work is reflected in our curriculum, please visit the DEI & ABAR page of our website.

International Day of Peace: Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

International Day of Peace provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences. The theme for 2022 is "End Racism. Build Peace". Every classroom celebrates differently, so look for more information from the Guides via email, Transparent Classroom or Brightwheel.

For more information from the United Nations General Assembly, please visit International Day of Peace.
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Save the Date: School Photos

Save the date for school photos with Alison Eden!

Thursday, October 13: T1, T2, and T3
Tuesday, October 18: P1, P2, and P3
Thursday, October 20: P4, P5, and P6
Tuesday, October 25: make-up photos

More information coming soon!

Upcoming Event Spotlight: Cultural Fest

Save the Date for Athena's Cultural Fest!



Bar for grown ups!

Barefoot Bookfair!

Saturday, November 12th, 2022, 3 pm - 5pm

(Sunday, November 13th, 2022, 3 pm - 5pm will be the alternate day in case of inclement weather.)

Cultural Fest is a school-wide potluck that celebrates Athena community's collective cultural heritages. Families are invited to bring a dish that represents their cultural story and enjoy presentations and entertainment from local performers.

Of course, we can't plan this event without YOU! If you would like to volunteer to help staff the food table, please contact your class room parent. If your family has a connection with a cultural performance group or if you are able to make a donation of alcohol for the bar, please contact Christina.

We look forward to celebrating with you on campus in November!

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Parking Lot Drop Off/Pick Up Reminders

Families, please be mindful of our drop off and pick procedure:

For regularmorning drop off, both gates will be opened between 7:45 am - 8:00 am. Please drive in the east gate for drop off, and leave through the west gate. Gates are closed between 8:45 am - 8:50 am. If you arrive with your student after the parking lot gates are closed, please make your way around to our Morgan Lane gate entrance to drop off in their classroom.

For half day pick up, only the west gate will be opened from 11:50 am - 12:30 pm for entering and exiting. If you arrive to the parking lot after the gates are closed, please park at the front of the campus on Morgan Lane and use the front gate entrance for pick up.

For full day pick up, both gates will be opened between 2:10 pm - 2:20 pm. Similar to the morning, please drive in the first gate and leave through the secondary gate. Gates will be closed again between 3:00 pm - 3:10 pm. If you arrive for pick up after the parking lot gates are closed, please park on Morgan Lane and use the front gate entrance for pick up.

Families in EAP & ASP should have received information via email about their drop off and pick up procedures. Thank you for your cooperation!

Enrollment Notices

Current Athena Families:

Thank you for a fantastic first few weeks of school! We are so grateful to have you in our community.

Waiting Pool Families:

January Enrollment:

We will be reaching out to individual families as we learn of January openings. As a reminder, siblings of current students are given priority for enrollment, followed by the general waiting pool.

2023-2024 Enrollment:

Enrollment for the 2023-2024 school year will begin with re-enrollment of current students in December 2022. We will move on to enrolling siblings of current and alumni students in January 2023, followed by general waiting pool enrollment in February and March 2023.

Our continued goal in the admissions process is to be as transparent as possible, and we strive to give you the most accurate information we can during each step of the deliberate process of enrollment. We respect that decisions related to your child's education are important and timely ones, and we will continue to send you general enrollment updates via this monthly newsletter. Thank you for your continued interest, and we encourage you to reach out with specific questions related to your child's enrollment at any time.

Please direct admissions & enrollment questions to our Admissions Director, Joy Jacobson. You can email her directly at

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School Supplies


Time to order school supplies! Looking for natural, organic, and non-toxic products? MightyNest has a fantastic collection of backpacks, nap mats, lunch containers, water bottles, wet/dry bags, and much more!

Austin Baby Collection

Locally-owned by an Athena family, Austin Baby Collection sells lunch bags, bento boxes, bibs, and placemats made from eco-friendly material, 100% food safe, and completely free of BPA, PVC and phthalates.

Oliver's Labels

Need labels? Oliver's Labels has labels for backpacks, shoes, clothes, lunch boxes, and water bottles!  Click the link above to purchase customized labels and Athena will receive 20% of your purchase!

For Small Hands

For Small Hands carries a wide variety of items for children, all child-sized, fun and developmentally-appropriate!  Use our code below, and Athena will get a percentage of the sale to apply towards materials for school. CODE 165595